Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes, there are no right words.

Most of the key emotional ties to Up the Lake are due to the kids.  Many adults aren’t visibly upset when the summer ends, until it's time to say good bye to the little ones.  Part of the connection comes from seeing the joy, freedom and activeness the place brings out in them, part of it is witnessing succeeding generations enjoy the same things you did, and part of it is watching them grow up as each year passes.  I feel a great sense of pride when now adults (that I still think of as kids) come back Up the Lake, and tell me they remember that I introduced them to a game they really enjoyed or a novelty song or comedy routine they still laugh at.  Those kinds of connections are what make Up the Lake as special as it is. One of the problems with strong emotional bonds, like anything worthwhile in life, is that the better and stronger attachments you form the more danger there is of being hurt when they're lost.

I still picture Jay as the little boy playing Marvel and Talisman and singing “Shaving Cream” over and over again with his cousins (or belching along to "Its a Gas"). Even though he wasn’t a little boy anymore, he was far too young.  Jay was only 22 when a car accident took him from his family.  I feel really stupid saying anything about pain and loss, because I know that even though Up the Lake is a family, the effect on his actual family is indescribable.

There are no right words for something like this. None. Everything is inadequate, nothing explains it and there is no justification.  As a defense mechanism, I guess, I fall back on quotations of others.  

I’ll always remember the uncharacteristically dark anger and revulsion in Dad’s voice, never heard before or after, at a funeral when he said, “No one should have to bury their child.”   As true as that statement is, it still happens, and it is wrong in every way possible.  There must be a fundamental flaw in reality that allows it to happen.  Every religion is full of rituals that exist to provide something to do and say, when events push people into places there is nothing right to do or say.

The Unforgiven line about how death takes away “all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have,” describes the total sense of loss.  The potential that’s gone is as bad as the loss of the person.  No one else will get to experience, firsthand, Jay’s brilliant intelligence, which developed as he matured into a sparkling wit and charm, or how much he cared about the rest of his family, or his seemingly never ending, hysterical repertoire of funny faces.   No one else will get to experience these, but no one who knew him will ever forget them, or let others forget them.

The only way to be completely insulated from being hurt is to be isolated from any emotional connections.  There’s no way that would be worth it, because you’d miss connecting with people like Jay.

Again, with no right words, I have to rely on someone else’s for a final thought.

(From Doctor Who “Vincent and the Doctor”)
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

You’ll be sorely missed, Jay, thank you for providing many important things to our good pile.

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